Washington DC

UNITED STATES NATIONAL ARBORETUM, ESQUIVEL FAMILY

There is nothing more fun to me than planning and stylizing shoots with my clients.  When it is an entire family who thinks outside of the box and lets creativity and fashion fly, it is even more fun for me, as a photographer.

I had  the great privilege of shooting the Esquivel Family at the National Arboretum in Washington, DC.  Their edgy yet elegant vibe is to swoon over along with their family story that is told to me first hand by Danielle Esquivel, wife, momma and fearless boss babe!

Their Family Story by Danielle:

Our family came to be many years ago when Kai our daughter was just 5 years old, over 8 years ago! Time sure does fly!

Justin, my husband, had been a longtime friend of mine and by chance we became connected again after many years apart. What once was a one sided love became two (Justin wanted to date me way back when but I always refused. I never wanted to ruin our friendship!)

We instantly fell in love with each other and wanted to spend all our time together and Kai loved Justin from the start!  They share a special bond to this day.

Fast forward to June 2013 where we decided we were in it for the long haul! We got married in a beautiful summer wedding in Ithaca, NY with Kai by our side as our flower girl.

So how did a bunch of NYers end up in DC? Well, about 3 years ago I accepted a job in the Washington DC metro area and we packed up and moved down to Virginia - our new home! We couldn’t be happier! Justin loves the area as an avid film fan and one of the Epic Film Guys from Epic Film Guys Podcast, there is always something movie related to do and you can almost always find him at the Alamo DraftHouse Cinema.

For me living in DC, I love the close proximity to so much culture and art! You can find me hitting up the local museums and concerts as well as shopping! Cause what girl doesn’t love to shop!

Kai, walks to the beat of her own drum. She’s fiercely unique and not afraid to be herself. We absolutely love her for that! She’s been into hand lettering and calligraphy these days and loves tagging along with us to shows and concerts. She’s a punk girl at heart and her punk mama couldn’t be prouder!

A little love note from Lacey O:

Danielle, Justin and Kai,

It was so fun planning and stylizing your family shoot with you.  You all are a divergently fierce family for sure!  Don't ever change a thing! 

With Big Love,

Lacey O.

Photos Are Your Legacy

"Photos are your legacy" I realized recently while taking pictures of my 3 children, Chasey, Zane and Gracey at Bates Nut Farm in California. My husband, kids and I were having a family day celebrating the autumn season and picking out pumpkins at the pumpkin patch.

As a mother, I know it's super important to have photos of your children for the memories, for yourself.  But I find it more important to have photos for your grandchildren and their grandchildren (so on and so forth)  But here is why I think why...

These photos are a precious story and legacy you leave behind for the generations to showcase your family.  If we did not have photos to help tell the story, we don't have the full on history of events, moments, where you have visited or lived, etc... basically, what makes you uniquely you!  Knowing our roots and beginning plays the biggest part of who we are.  It helps preserve the beautiful foundation that is 'Family'. 

Escondido, CA Maternity Session + Erica

Recently, I had the great pleasure of shooting a maternity session, in Escondido, California for my childhood friend, Erica.  

Erica Brauer has been in the Los Angeles area since 2001, where she attended USC as an undergraduate, majoring in biology and minoring in theatre.  Shortly after graduating she founded a theatre company now known as Above the Curve Theatre, a black box non-profit theatre known for producing quality shows with a minimum participation of 50% females. In 2013, she became a full-time science teacher, and now teaches chemistry at Granada Hills Charter High School.  She continues to run her theatre company and perform around the city with other companies as well. In addition, she is involved with a non-profit called buildOn, in which she takes high school students to third world countries to build schools for those less fortunate.

Erica met Ian and his beautiful daughter Avery almost three years ago.  Erica and Ian seem quite perfect for each other, as they balance out each other's craziness.  Their relationship has already survived Ian's back surgery and other hurtles that many couples do not have to go through so early on, which has only made them stronger together.  She has inspired him to go back to school, and he has supported her in her journey to get a Master's in Science Education as well.  They love their time with Avery, and have watched her flourish into a sweet, energetic little girl.  When Erica found out she was pregnant with one of her own, she was ecstatic. Although not perhaps the way she imagined it would all happen, she very much believes in fate and God's will, and truly believes this miracle was meant to happen right now. 

Pregnancy for her has not been the smoothest of processes.  Erica was sick for the first 6 months or so, making it difficult to maintain her normally active and healthy lifestyle.  She has always been a very disciplined eater and exerciser, but those first few months made it tough.  Once that had passed, her pregnancy has been much smoother.  Of course there are certain discomforts here and there, but she will cherish the first time she heard his heartbeat, the first time she saw his little nose in an ultrasound, and the first time she felt him kick.  She feels lucky to have this experience, and is grateful every day for her little miracle.

** Erica and Ian welcomed Hudson Jameson Cochran into the world at 3:28 PM on January 31st.  Erica, Baby Hudson and family are over- joyed and doing fantastic!

if you see something beautiful in someone, speak it

A quote from an interior designer that I just adore, Ruthie Lindsey,  spoken simplistically & straight to the point:

 "IF YOU SEE SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL IN SOMEONE, SPEAK IT."

I recently was paid the compliment "You love and live boldly, Lacey."  

The thing is the person who paid me this compliment had/has no idea that the source of this boldness was derived from being a survivor of child abuse... Physically, mentally & emotionally.   A child who always felt not quite loved, who felt insecure a lot, dumb & always inadequate. Who lived with anxiety a lot and fear. Who was taught that I deserved my child abuse when I was being "bad".  

Hearing this compliment sure put some pep in my step and reminded me to continue to ignore those that want to dull my sparkle because they are afraid to shine.  
To keep on living and loving boldly because of the example it gives & to tell people more what is beautiful about them.  
You never know the story of a person. You never know how hearing that simple compliment might have given them something they truly need to continue to aspire and/or possibly heal.

So, if you see something beautiful in someone, speak it.

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CARLSBAD VILLAGE, CA + TASHIANNA & CYLUS, MOTHER/SON

Cylus Charlie Brown is Tashianna's son.  At their house they call him, "Cy Cy" and "Bubbi". As his momma, Tashianna likes to call him her "Angel Baby".

Tashianna battled a hemorrhage the entire 9 months of pregnancy and Cylus was born with a stroke on his brain while battling seizures. Tashianna shared: " I promised him when he was in the NICU and fighting to stay alive, that momma was never going to leave his side. I gave it all to God including my son's life and his purpose".

Three long months of going through every emotion possible, Cylus's head doctor walked into the room while Tashianna was breastfeeding and with tears in his eyes, says: "Its gone, the stroke is gone! Its like it disappeared out of nowhere." 

Tashianna was adopted as a newborn so her son is the first person she has ever me in her life that shares the same blood as her.  Tashianna said to me: " I knew from the beginning I was going to be a single mom but there was nothing that was going to stop me from doing what I had to for my baby". 

Tashianna has been a  model since before Cylus was born.   She modeled maternity while pregnant and continued to model after his birth. She would take him to all her shoots with her, where all the models would flock to him and she learned quickly how big of a flirt he was! (Too cute)  Tashianna shared with a chuckle: " Mommy is now regretting that decision. Did I mention, he hates pictures"!

Mornings are their favorite time of day.  Tashianna said:  "I have come to realize that I am "that mom" who is running late to drop their kid off at school because stopping to get donuts and go to the library is more fun.  I take life slower now that I have my kiddo.  Cylus likes to think he is 3 going on 30, not sure where he gets his independent attitude from".  ; )  

Cylus's world consists of lots of trains, naps and snacks!
I cannot say he is your typical three year old because the compassion that flows from him reminds you of an old soul.
 
As for Tashianna, she is finishing her Bachelors in International Business and then off to Law School.  She shared with me:  "I made Cylus a promise to acheive that goal and I will see it to the end".